Happy Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Oatmeal cookies! I love oatmeal cookies! They’re my favourite cookie, and I don’t understand all the hate they get. A good, chewy, hearty and slightly sweet oatmeal cookie is the best treat ever. So of course I’m going to dive deep into my pantry today and make my very own perfect oatmeal cookie.

I go online and find this recipe by Two Purple Figs. It seems simple and the base ingredients more or less match what I have in my cupboard. For the fillings, I pull out anything I can find that could possibly go in an oatmeal cookie. Cranberries, hemp hearts, flax meal, pepitas, coconut, walnuts, dates… Whew. I hope there’s room!

Many ingredients, some of them unnecessary.

I start the recipe on step 3, mixing the dry ingredients. I just wanted to do the least messy part first and clear up some room on the counter. So I add a teaspoon of this and that to the filling. I have a stroke of genius and add a couple of teaspoons of chocolate protein shake mix. A bit of everything goes in there as I do the thing bakers aren’t supposed to do: eyeball the ingredients. I’m halving the recipe as I usually do, leaving me to estimate measurements like 1/8 of a teaspoon, and half of 1/3 cup. Living on the edge, am I right?

I move on to the wet ingredients. I use a hand mixer to beat the butter and brown sugar together in far too small a bowl, leading to butter and brown sugar flying everywhere. Instead of putting the mixture into a larger bowl, I carefully move the bowl into the sink and continue following the recipe. Before long, I have a sink covered in bits of buttery sugar and a smooth peanut-butter-looking soup. I fold in the dry ingredient mix, and it immediately smells amazing. The choco protein powder is really coming through. The finished batter looks so tasty, I can’t help but take a tiny bite. It’s DIVINE!

I cannot wait to put these cookies in my mouth. I gently mold the little baby lumps on the baking tray and put them in the oven.

I love them

Twelve minutes later, the apartment smells chocolatey and oaty. My mouth is watering as I set the tray aside to cool. I can’t help it, I grab a cookie and take a bite. It’s everything I ever wanted in a cookie. So warm, chewy, crunchy, not too sweet… I’m in heaven. I just love oatmeal cookies.

Look at this perfection!

Happy Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Happy Chocolate Covered Cashews Day!

Never have I eaten a chocolate covered cashew. I didn’t realize this, it never even crossed my mind, until I saw that today is Chocolate Covered Cashew Day. By all the luck in the world, I picked up a small snack-size bag of cashews from my mom’s house yesterday. So today, I’m going to have my first ever chocolate covered cashew.

But first, let me share some info I learned about the cashew. The cashew is originally from Brazil. The cashew tree grows these crazy looking fruit, and cashew nuts grow from under the fruit. When nuts grow that way, they’re called accessory fruit. Cashews as we know them are also contained in a shell that can cause reactions similar to poison ivy. The fruit themselves are called cashew apples and have been described as being sweet, bitter, acidic and with a chewy texture. I want to try one!

An illustration of the insane cashew apple

On to making the chocolate covered cashews. I had a lot of chocolate to choose from. I grabbed two dark chocolate bars and two milk chocolate bars from our stash. There were only two squares left of the sparkling wine bar chocolate, which might be the best chocolate I’ve had in my life, by the way. I decided to only use two squares of each bar, so I don’t overestimate the amount of chocolate needed.

From left to right – Milk Mint; Milk Raspberry, Apple & Elderflower; Dark Gin & Tonic; Dark Chipotle Truffle

I start up a bain marie and drop in the last two delicious pieces of elderflower chocolate. It takes a while to warm up, but once it does it’s easy work. I use two spoons to gently coat each cashew individually in the chocolate soup.

It went pretty fast after that. I just coated as many cashews as I could, and then I wiped the rest of the chocolate off the bowl before moving on to the next chocolate bar. I set the coated cashews down onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. When I got to the dark chipotle chocolate, the melting was interesting. It looked like it had some milk chocolate inside between the truffle part and dark chocolate bottom. It looked cool so here’s a picture.

I felt compelled to take a pic of the fun colour mix!

When all was done, I had five elderflower cashews, eight mint cashews, three gin & tonic and nine chipotle.

I named them from left to right

I popped the tray into the freezer and came back twenty minutes later with some tasty chocolate covered cashews! The chocolate wasn’t the hardest, but these are going immediately into our stomachs anyways.


My boyfriend and I tried each flavour one at a time. The elderflower was incredibly delicious. It was flowery, and complemented the buttery cashew very well. The gin & tonic flavour did not go well with the cashew at all. I love the bitterness of the chocolate on its own, but it clashed with the nut. The mint flavour was my boyfriend’s favourite. Mint chocolate is amazing to begin with, and the cashew just made it better. The chipotle was mediocre, a lot of the spicy bite that made the chocolate great was lost in the combo somehow.

So here’s my verdict: Elderflower was the best, followed by mint, chipotle, then gin & tonic. It was interesting how the cashew changed the flavours. Normally dark chocolate is my go-to. Cashews will always be one of my favourite nuts.

Happy Chocolate Covered Cashews Day!

Happy Deskfast Day!

Did you eat your deskfast today? Probably not, seeing as it’s Sunday, but that won’t stop us from celebrating Deskfast Day! A deskfast is breakfast eaten at your desk as you work. It was founded in 2016 by A Better Breakfast to encourage people to not skip this very important meal.

The hallmark of a great deskfast is that you can eat it while you work. Smoothies, wraps, and sandwiches are all great options. Single-handed foods are ideal. But the most important thing is that you remember to eat some sort of breakfast , whether you’re one of the brave souls working at an essential establishment or working from home.

If you still go to work, you could take today to meal prep your breakfasts for the next week. An easy breakfast I love is oatmeal made with quick oats. If you pre-portion out the ingredients in thermoses or jars, you can easily heat some water in the morning and you have a healthy breakfast! You could also try overnight oats, but I personally dislike cold oatmeal. Smoothies are also easy to prep ahead of time.

But I’m not going to do any of that today. I watched a video the other day about 3-ingredient recipes, and one of the recipes has been stuck in my mind. It’s an egg omelette where the eggs are whisked to a souffle-like result. It looks so fluffy and fun, take a look!

Soooo fluffy

I’m going to build a deskfast around this souffle omelette. I think some avocado on toast will go well with this, and I’ll also make some veggies on the side. I like having calorie-heavy breakfasts when I can, as it makes me less hungry over the course of the day. So, as usual, I gather my ingredients.

All we need!

I start with the vegetables, quickly slicing up the spinach and mushrooms. I throw them into a pan on medium heat and start on the eggs. Instead of using the four full eggs, I separate three of them, and mix their egg whites in with the fourth full egg. I put the three yolks aside for my boyfriend’s souffle omelette. I’ll be making him one when I’m done with mine.

While the vegetables are cooking, I toast the bread and slice the avocado. When the veggies are done, I put them on the plate with the avocado and toast.

Halfway done!

Now I can move on to the omelette. I whisk the egg mix for what seems like forever, until it’s fluffy. It isn’t as thick as I would like, but it’s taking way too long. I pour it into the pan, and a few minutes pass. Then I realize I’m supposed to have it on low heat and cover it, so I do that.

The whisked egg mix before cooking

Ten minutes later, I gingerly poke at the edges with a spatula. Very, very slowly, I slide the spatula under the egg floof pancake and nudge it onto a plate. Just doing that is so satisfying. It’s so light and airy, folding it in half is magical.

The final product tastes just like a regular omelette, but the texture is really interesting. It’s foamy, and the bottom is a thin layer of tougher egg. I personally don’t think the effort of whisking is worth it, but it was a fun one off activity. It definitely isn’t an easy, quick deskfast.

So many colours!

Happy Deskfast Day!

Happy Peanut Butter and Jelly Day!

Peanut butter and jelly is a food pairing as classic as eggs and bacon, fries and ketchup, milk and cookies. Paste made of peanuts dates back to the ancient civilizations of the Incas and Aztecs in South America. Fruit preserves have been around since the 1st century, but didn’t take off until many thousands of years later, due to the high cost of sugar. The perfect combination of peanut butter and jelly is said to have come from American soldiers in World War 2, who combined their rations to make the now-staple PB&J.

Today I’m happy to celebrate Peanut Butter and Jelly Day by making a lovely PB&J sandwich. It seems simple at first, until I realize– I don’t have any jelly or jam. I guess I should mention here there’s a difference between the two. Jelly is made of fruit juice, whereas jam is made of chopped fruit and often has pieces of fruit in it. The two are interchangeable in the context of peanut butter and jelly though, in my opinion.

No PB&J would be complete without the sweet goodness of jam , so of course I must make some.

I find this simple recipe online by Lord Byron’s Kitchen, and I gather the necessary ingredients. My boyfriend’s ex left three bags of the same frozen fruit mix in the freezer, so I grab one of those. There’s sugar in the cupboard, and I fish out a lonely two-thirds of a lemon from the fridge. That’s all I need!

A simple recipe with simple ingredients!

The recipe makes two cups of jam, but I don’t want to preserve mine, so I halve the recipe. It should keep for a few weeks, and hopefully I’ll remember to eat it by then. I pry apart the frozen chunk of fruit to get two cups of chopped strawberries. For sugar I use 1/4 cup, and I just squeeze out the rest of the lemon, as I clearly already used a bit of the juice. Everything goes to boil in the pot!

Looks goopey already.

The recipe says to bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer until it’s the right consistency, but I’m not sure what that means. A different recipe suggests freezing some spoons, then dribbling some of the jam onto a spoon. When you can draw a line in the jam without the jam running, it’s set. So, I throw some spoons into the freezer in preparation.

Two hours later, stirring every so often, the jam looks… jam-ish. I do the spoon thing, and it seems good!

The spoon looks like Harry Potter with a traumatic head injury.

Now, if I were making more jam, to preserve fruit over a long period of time, I would have to sterilize the jar and use a method called water bath canning to make sure the jams don’t grow mold, or the germ Clostridium botulinum, whose toxins cause botulism. That’s a really scary prospect, though rare. Luckily I only made enough for the next week or so. I have an old salsa jar, so I spoon the hot jam into that to let it cool.

One cup of jam

Now we get to the bread and butter of PB&J day, or should I say the bread and peanut butter? I grab everything I need:

My stomach is rumbling!

And I make the most beautiful, delicious, perfect, mouth-watering, glorious, amazing piece of PB&J I have ever tasted!

She’s beautiful!!

Let me tell you… putting all that effort and time into making my own jam made this simple snack taste so much better. Every bite was indescribably satisfying. The jam itself was sweet, tart, and very lemony. I always use too much lemon, and I’m not a huge fan of sourness, but I’ve overlooked bigger flaws in the name of love. This is definitely not the last time I make my own jam. I would be making banana jam for my banana-loving boyfriend right now if I had any lemons left. I’m already thinking that next year I might make peanut butter from scratch. We’ll see!

Happy Peanut Butter and Jelly Day!

Happy Spanish Paella Day!

On March 27th, celebrate Spanish Paella Day! Paella is a rice dish originating from the Valencia region in Spain, in the mid-19th century . It was the preferred lunch of laborers who would cook their rice in a large pan over fire, adding in whatever was on hand. Paella is the Valencian word for pan. On a side note, I looked up the Spanish word for pan and it’s sartén.

If you hadn’t guessed yet, I decided to celebrate today by making Paella! I went online and found this recipe from Allrecipes, advertised as “Easy” Paella. I’m not a great cook, so I often seek out the easiest recipe I can find. Upon reading the recipe, it seems like something I could do. There’s one glaring issue though…

I don’t know about all of you right now, but where I live, we’re being told to practice social distancing. In the midst of this corona virus pandemic, I’ve been laid off from my job, businesses are closing, and grocery stores have reduced hours. This means I do not have all the ingredients to make a Paella. But I won’t let this stop me! I’m going to celebrate Spanish Paella Day no matter what!

What do I not have for this recipe? Chicken is out, saffron, white rice, chorizo, shrimp, bell pepper and fresh parsley too. Err… it seems like I don’t have the bulk of the ingredients. Luckily, I think I have some pretty good substitutions. No chicken, chorizo, or shrimp in sight, unfortunately. Instead of white rice, I’ll use brown rice and hope it cooks similarly. I have mini sweet bell peppers, and dried parsley instead of fresh. I took to google and found that apparently you can substitute saffron with tumeric, though the taste isn’t the same. I really hope this works!

Here’s a picture of all the ingredients laid out, minus the chicken broth:

Mmm… organizing…

I like laying out my ingredients and any special equipment I’ll need, and pre-portion the amounts when I can, so I can easily grab anything when the cooking inevitably moves too fast for me, and I’m left running back and forth from the recipe to the stove like a headless chicken.

Just prepping to make the paella was such an ordeal. Five minutes into cutting the peppers, I sliced my finger and spent twenty more minutes trying to stop the bleeding. It took another thirty minutes to zest the lemon with a pairing knife. Making lemon zest was maybe the most grueling part of this ordeal.

When I finally got to cooking, everything went so fast. I realized coming up on step 3 that some of the herbs were meant to marinate the chicken, so I just threw them in with the onions. I also added baby spinach to buff up the topping a bit. I should’ve added more peppers and onion to make up for the lack of meats, but I didn’t think of it. All in all though, I believe it came out alright.

I’ve never had spanish paella, so I have nothing to measure mine against. However, the rice part tasted a bitter to me, that might’ve been the tumeric substitution. The topping was delicious, but obviously there wasn’t nearly enough! I’ll definitely be using that paprika, black pepper and oregano combination to cook vegetables in the future.

Happy Spanish Paella Day everyone!